After all the debate over which four teams should have made the playoffs and how the playoffs should be expanded, there is no disagreement that we have the two best teams in College Football participating in the National Championship. And to no surprise, Alabama and Clemson are loaded with NFL talent.
It’s safe to assume every player you see tonight has some sort of future in the NFL. But who are the best prospects to watch? Here are my top-25 2019 draft-eligible prospects you will see in tonight’s championship game.
1. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
He’s only a redshirt sophomore but he’s the most dominant football player I watched in the nation this season. People can be too loose with the word “unblockable”, but its appropriately used when describing Williams. Williams is a game-changing defensive tackle with a rare blend of size, power, athletic ability, football intelligence and a relentless motor.
2. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
You won’t convince me there is a better offensive line prospect in the rising draft class than Williams. He is mobile, powerful, experienced and polished with his technique. He has the upside to start immediately and become a pillar of an NFL offensive line.
3. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Thompson is arguably the best safety prospect in the class and offers top skills in every technique but his best usage comes as a single-high centerfielder. His range, ball skills, versatility and coverage awareness should make him a dynamic NFL playmaker.
4. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Ferrell has 27 sacks across the last three seasons at Clemson and his length, power, hand technique and variety of moves profiles him as an impact pass rusher in the NFL. For a team that prefers prototypes in terms of size and athletic profile, Ferrell is the total package.
5. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Wilkins’ valuation has been all over the place in the last two years. While I’m not pounding the table for him in the top-10, I do believe he is a high quality prospect that can be a dynamic interior penetrator in the NFL and cause disruption. He is an extremely high-character individual that any team would love to welcome to its locker room.
6. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Davis is long, athletic and powerful which leads to him dictating reps and owning the line of scrimmage. He knows how to use his hands to control blockers and shed blocks. He is versatile, physically gifted and the type of presence that could thrive in a defensive front that is multiple.
7. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
It does not appear that Wilson is going to declare for the Draft but he has first-round potential if he does. Wilson is an athletic linebacker that has sideline-to-sideline range, strong instincts in coverage and the physicality to play into the line of scrimmage. His game translates perfectly to today’s NFL and he has the makings of Alabama’s next great second level defender.
8. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Jacobs is part of a deep Bama backfield and shares carries but he might just be the best running back in the rising draft class. He has dynamic balance and elusive traits in the open field that blend wonderfully with his vision and power.
9. Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
Smith is an exciting talent that offers dynamic upside as a receiver. He has a long, muscular frame with fluid and explosive movement skills. His ball skills, hands, route running and ability to win post-catch are really exciting. Oh, and he can block. He’s the total package.
10. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
He isn’t eligible for the game tonight but Lawrence could not be left off this list. He is a load up front who is fairly stout at the point of attack. When he gets moving forward, his bull rush is capable of walking back interior blockers and compromising the depth of the pocket. He’d be an ideal complement alongside an explosive three-technique.
11. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris packs a punch as a runner with his strong contact balance and low center of gravity but also has a surprising amount of burst for his style. He has smooth feet and great vision as a between-the-tackles runner.
12. Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama
Miller is a late-bloomer but enjoyed a breakout senior campaign with 11 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. He is a technically refined pass rusher and stout run defender despite modest physical upside.
13. Isaiah Buggs, DL, Alabama
Buggs is a stout defender that dominates at the point of attack. While he isn’t particularly explosive, he is versatile and technically-refined. If he can play with more consistent urgency, the foundational traits are present for him to be a playmaker in the NFL.
14. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a top-tier athlete that has battled some injuries but flashes whenever he is on the field. His blend of length and athletic ability makes him highly intriguing and he’s made contributions in the return game.
15. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
Mullen has some fans in the draft community but I’m a bit skeptical. He’s had some good moments in run support but was rarely tested in coverage. With that said, his transitions can be sloppy in off man coverage. He has upside as Cover 2 corner with the ability to disrupt at the line of scrimmage but his ball skills and fluidity are lacking.
16. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Simmons was the best defensive player on the field against Notre Dame and has a chance to shoot up boards with a strong performance against Alabama. A redshirt sophomore, Simmons converted from safety to linebacker this year and offers outstanding size and athletic ability.
17. Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
Jennings isn’t overly explosive but is a powerful technician who excels as a run defender and when using his hands to soften rushing angles. He’s as boringly solid as they come and figures to be a valuable piece of an NFL defensive line rotation.
18. Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson
Joseph is a sound processor with good range and offers baseline ability in coverage and defending the run. He’s on the smaller size but his game translates well to the NFL in a pursuit-style role.
19. Ross Pierschbacher, IOL, Alabama
Pierschbacher has played both guard and center for the Tide, tallying over 50 career starts. He is more of a technician that projects as a valuable back up in the NFL but he’ll have a future in the league.
20. Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Muse has a great frame and good athletic ability while flashing playmaking potential. With that said, his role as a deep safety on a dominant defense hasn’t led to him making a major impact. His skill set is intriguing and he could end up being a more prolific pro than college player.
21. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson
Renfrow won’t wow you with his physical traits but he’s a nuanced route runner with the best hands I’ve ever scouted. The dude catches everything and wins in contested situations with unbelievable consistency. He’s a winner that I would want on my team.
22. Austin Bryant, EDGE, Clemson
Bryant racked up some splash plays throughout his career but his consistency as both a run defender and pass rusher is lacking. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has done well to scheme up opportunities for Bryant where his length and burst can be taken advantage of.
23. Lester Cotton, IOL, Alabama
Looking for a mauler in the run game? Pick cotton! This dude’s anchor and ability to create movement in the run game is impressive. For a team the employs a gap/power run scheme, Cotton would be a great fit. He will need to overcome underwhelming mobility in pass pro, however.
24. Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson
Lamar is a physically imposing, downhill thumper that can bang between the tackles and stop the run. That said, he doesn’t offer range to make plays outside the tackles and is not likely to be an every down player in the NFL but he can carve out a role on sub-packages and special teams.
25. Albert Huggins, DL, Clemson
Huggins has been a flashy reserve for Clemson over the last three seasons and got a chance to start in place of Lawrence against Notre Dame and fared well. He has a chance to make noise with an impressive showing against Alabama and force us to take a hard look at his tape.